Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Turbulence Between Changing Worlds

For most people on Planet Earth, physical reality, linear time, and the messages of media and rational science, are all anyone should need to live a good and worthwhile life. However, there are a growing number of people who feel that this is not the way things really are and that the illusion of reality, although very convincing, is not the only experience we have access to.

Although I have researched and explored what some might call 'the spiritual alternatives' to mainstream living for most of my life, it has only been recently that I have really started to 'walk my talk', so-to-speak. This isn't to say that I wasn't following values personal to me before this time, just that my understanding has now deepened.

The start of the spiritual journey tends to follow this pattern:

Something sounds interesting - let me take a look - let me try it... while I'm still doing what I usually do.

The next stage is to develop an intellectual understanding. You know it makes sense but you have difficulty proving it in your own life. The problem is you lack the necessary faith to progress - what if you are wrong about what you think you know?



Taking the leap of faith requires moving out of your usual 'comfort zones'. It also requires that you do this whole-heartedly. The problem we create for our selves is that the overwhelming evidence showing up in our regular physical experience convinces us that our new spiritual course of action is misguided and not to be completely trusted. As the saying goes:

"Trust in Allah, but tie your Camel."

What most people are missing at this stage, is a recognition of the part they play in creating the reality they experience; taking 100% responsibility for all personal thought, emotion, and action. To help you to understand this, consider too that the physical world you experience is like a hard-light reflection of all that you project out from within your being. Put another way, what you experience in your physical life is only feedback from your conscious creating. Once you begin to accept this willingly, you become more mindful, both of what you think and what you express - to your self and to others.

At this point, you may have let go of the fence and suddenly found yourself standing on the other side of where you were before. However, it is still within reach and offers the possibility of climbing back. On the other hand, if you continue to travel further from the security and familiarity of the fence, you start to feel like this:



A few months after having that feeling, Lynda posted a Seth quote which I have added to a visual scene:



I also noticed that a few of my friends were experiencing varying degrees of the same realisation - that they also were no longer in their old familiar places, yet had not reached the places they wanted to experience! This got me thinking about the transition from one state of being to another. As you leave the world you know, and enter unfamiliar territory, you pass through what I describe as 'turbulence' - where aspects of each world 'interferes' in the present. 

However, you must now keep going, despite some noticeable features of this part of your journey. These can include losing old friends and gaining new ones; various disruptions in finances and living arrangements; feelings of loss and depression as well as relief and enthusiasm.



Saturday, 28 June 2014

Joe Vitale - Genuine 'Good Egg' or Opportunistic Materialist?

A little while ago, I received a connection request through my LinkedIn site from Joe Vitale:
"Hi Richard, 
I saw that we are both members of Mastering the Law of Attraction. I viewed your profile and based on your expertise and experience feel you would make a great connection and that we could really benefit each other. Would you mind connecting? 
Thank you!"

I had previously attempted to contact Joe through his website, but received no reply. So, after a few months had passed, it seemed like a nice surprise to receive Joe's contact request. I responded with a personal (and slightly longer reply than I normally give) outlining my own background and time spent also studying the law of attraction. I took the opportunity to mention that I also write books, but could benefit from reaching a larger audience. I never asked Joe for anything, but thought perhaps he might show interest and offer a few personal insights or suggestions that might assist me.

The first time I came across Joe, was in the DVD, 'The Secret'. However, he also wrote a very well known book called 'Zero Limits' - of which I discovered I had a copy. It's an excellent book and introduces another practice I use called, Ho'oponopono (Dr Hew Len).

Joe, like many celebrities, has started using social media to extend his market reach, beyond his own personal website. However, like many who become famous in their fields, Joe is now quite detached from newcomers to his work, in the sense that he doesn't appear to answer any new contacts personally. Instead, I'm guessing that he has people who manage this for him. On the one hand, it is perfectly understandable, since to respond to a huge following personally is perhaps an unfair expectation. However, the marketing department only wants to promote Joe's work to gain further sales - resulting in any possibility of personalization being impossible! Now, I wouldn't mind if a third party individual from a team read my reply and responded with relevance, but I do object to receiving this:

"Thank you so much for connecting with me! 


As a special token of our new connection, please accept my free guide to visualization, and after you accept that, my powerful video about attracting what you truly desire. In life!"

In other words, this response has no bearing or relevance to the content of my reply to his first message - thinking that perhaps Joe himself had made the initial request to connect - and instead, I receive a rather cynical and overt plug to receive information I do not require. Not only that, but if I did wish to accept his offer, I would have to do something which absolutely all people in the law of attraction, self-help, personal development, and publishing fields now do: provide my name and an email address.


Everyone (including myself to a lesser degree) has realised that building 'targeted' email lists to notify potential customers of new products is essential to business expansion. My problem with this is that emails are then received on a weekly (and even sometimes daily) basis. The marketing machine goes into full swing and you receive these annoying mailings forever after! What's more, the emails received are often plugging the same product for weeks and even months on end; it's like water torture! The hope is that the subliminal message of needing the product will sink in and eventually you will be ready to press the 'buy' button. Repetition creating reaction. (Because of my own feelings about receiving 'junk mail', I make a promise to only send occasional emails - and I mean very occasional - perhaps only 3 or 4 a year. I also keep my email list private and do not pass, or sell, details to others).

So, in summary, it seems that Joe has people who are acting on his behalf. The question I would ask is, does Joe know that his representatives are impersonating him on LinkedIn?

Of course, if I have all this wrong, I'd welcome Joe's response to put me right and the opportunity to apologise for doubting his authenticity. In the meantime, I will ask of myself, Dr Hew Len's favourite question: What is it within me that attracted this experience?


The Abundance Project

On 25 September 2014, Joe invited people to join his "live event" podcast to promote his new Abundance Project. Initially, it was thought that Joe would actually be "live" and answer questions through a text box system. However, it soon became apparent that Joe was delivering his information via a pre-recorded video while a media accomplice was replying to questions - the only live component.

I stuck with the event and it was fair to say that Joe delivered information and a few techniques that were fine and would help a few people. If the event had then ended after its hour, most of this would have been fine. However, Joe suddenly went full force into his sales pitch. Okay, it's fair enough to mention a few options for buying into a few things. However, Joe was like an over-energised kid with ADHD, shamelessly going on and on about purchasing his product - for almost another hour without drawing breath! And if that wasn't hard enough to endure, it became clear that even after 40 minutes, people weren't sure if he was offering something for free or expecting deferred payment by instalments.

Like many well known spiritual "teachers" in the last 10 years, several have become consumed by mainstream corporate greed - or at least now come across in this way. It's a shame that their initial good intentions to be of help and service to others have turned into a 'cash-cow' that is allowed to be manipulated by third-party organisations.


Personally, I don't care how much monetary wealth these individuals accrue, but I do feel a little more grace could go with it. Joe isn't the only one. Neale Donald Walsch has also succumbed to commercial pressure to keep on turning out and producing more sales for his publishers and product producers. There are others too. All these people came up through genuinely hard times and have 'made it big'. They all have very genuine and moving stories to tell. Some of their work has positively affected the lives of millions. But when the focus moves from caring spiritual help to ways of making increasingly large sums of money - let's face it, from those who can least afford to pay - then they are no longer helping. I would much rather have seen Joe say at the end of his session:

"This course is usually sold at $296 but I'm going to give it to you free - period. I would only ask, that if your situation in life improves, that when you are able to do so, you send me a donation somewhere in the region of this cost - and I trust that not only will my course benefit you, but that you will also honour this when you have the money to be able to with ease."

People who are prepared to 'put their money where their mouth is' and 'walk their talk' will receive much more than the fees they are charging. Let's see so real faith in the universe - not artificially manufactured. It reminds me of an old wise-saying:

"Trust in Allah, but tie your Camel."


The universe does not do things by half. It has to be all or nothing where trust and faith is concerned!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Ai Weiwei

A rather nice tree recently appeared at the YSP. Made of rusting iron, cast from pieces of actual trees, it is the work of a Chinese artist. 

Ai Weiwei (pronounced I way way) was born in Beijing in 1957, spent time in New York from 1981 and returned to China in 1993. Like many eastern artists who openly express any dissenting opinion about their political leaders and their records on human rights, Ai has had "trumped-up charges" brought against him in a clumsy attempt to silence his views and limit his influence. As a result, he is currently prevented from travelling internationally.




The tree is located in the grounds of the recently restored Chapel and provides an additional feeling of Zen serenity when entering through the Chapel's wrought iron gateway. 




The Chapel itself had become very rundown over the years and inside it was quite dark and a bit poky. Now it has been carefully restored and affords a bright but calm exhibition space.

Interested to see if the rear of the Chapel had been left unmolested, I was pleased to see that it was still intact. This area displays some of the names of the original residents of Bretton Hall, carved in marble slabs, along the Chapel wall.



Inside the Chapel, photography is not permitted of exhibitions and therefore I must resort to scanning an image from the YSP's June 2014 Summer Update Issue 10.



These are 45 of Ai's 'Fairytale-1001 Chairs', described as "inviting audiences to consider freedom and sanctuary in an environment bringing together history and culture." The number 45 relates to Forty-five Qing dynasty (1644-1910). The full 1001 chairs were used to highlight "the difficulties for Chinese citizens to travel, by enabling 1001 of them to visit Germany." Although you cannot take photos, you can sit on the chairs. The chairs have been collected by the artist, rather than made by him. Interestingly, small carved emblems on the chairs include some with swastikas which might at first cause some people to question their place here. However, remember that the swastika had been in existence long before the Third Reich adopted it as their emblem for the Nazi Party.

Visitors can still, as previously, access the Chapel balcony area, with its now cleaned wooden floor, and feel the intimacy of the space and its cramped pew seating areas overlooking the contrasting expanse of the hall below.

As I sat on a middle chair, one row back from the front, and not bearing a swastika, I read through the artist's card loaned to visitors at the entrance. For 5 minutes I was the only visitor, sitting in the tranquility of this historic space, feeling two vibrations merged into one: the message of the artist; the past of the Chapel. I can only describe this combination as producing a physically heavy, but mentally calm, atmosphere. A feeling of physical oppression contrasted by an expansion and freedom of thought...

For more information on Ai Weiwei and his work, have a look here.

Also check out 'The Tear In Art 2016


  

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Penistone Grammar School: The Rise and Fall... and Rise Again

I spent 7 years at Penistone Grammar School, from 1972 to 1979.


Penistone Grammar School

This is an aerial shot I took sometime around 1982 from a Cessna light aircraft at about 10:30 in the morning. I remember thinking at the time, that the playing field looked as if someone had been over it with a staple gun.

In 1992, I attended the 600 Years of PGS reunion event. This was a major event in the school's history and I seem to recall it was spread over several days to allow visitations by many former pupils covering several years and forms. Unfortunately, the time I could spend there was limited and I had to leave long before I wanted to! Given my former experiences of the school, I couldn't believe how much I actually enjoyed attending the event. Meeting old friends - and a few old adversaries - there just wasn't time to get around everyone... even if I'd stayed all night. 

Some 30 years later, after another reunion of my old form (Friday 14 November 2008), I arranged with a friend who still worked at the school, to give me a tour of some of the buildings and grounds - prior to proposed redevelopment work taking place. It was during the Summer Holiday that I visited and, without any kids about, it was eerily quiet.




After my tour, I wrote a few words that included the following:

I asked if we could look inside Fulford first.  It was a building that somehow was more significant to me than any of the others.  The first two years of most of our lessons had been spent in there and a couple of years ago I had spent some time walking the corridors on both floors in one of my dreams!


The biggest shock for me was the extreme run down state of the school buildings, both internally and externally.  Although the usage and furniture of many rooms had changed, the flooring and d├ęcor had not altered since I had left in 1979.

I didn't really complete the writing, but you can see the rest of it here. (pdf file)

Little is now left of the original school, but the first, and possibly oldest building, Weirfield, is going to remain for flats. Although my personal memories of being at the school were not the happiest, I was sorry to see that one of the most important of the original buildings, Fulford, had been demolished instead of refurbished as flats - the original intention. Possibly every pupil who had ever been to the school (in my lifetime) would have spent at least the first 2 years frequenting that building - the heart of 'lower school'.

A friend of my brother's, Stuart Gibbins, contacted me to ask if I had any photographs he might be able to use for the PGS Archive Project. Stuart has done a fantastic job of photographing the whole of the old school and building a 360 degree site which shows both the history and the process of development - demolition - and redevelopment which you can view here. After looking at the work Stuart had already accomplished, I really didn't have any photographs better than those he already had - but I sent what I did have.






Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The Cost of Value

Yesterday, I responded in a private message to a post on my facebook timeline. To my surprise, the message window appeared again seconds later with a reply. I say surprise, because the person I messaged is not only extremely well known in his field of exploration and authorship, but recently apologised to his followers en masse that, due to an exceptional workload, he was unable to respond in person to the many who had contacted him. However, he kindly added that he really appreciated everyone's contributions. I just assumed that my message would be pertinent to his posting and that he might read it sometime.

We then engaged in a brief exchange, during which I mentioned some information I had related in one of my own books that might be of interest in relation to one of his current topics. He wanted to know more and then said he would buy the book.



It wasn't until I had sent him the Amazon purchase link, that I remembered the cost of the book. For a moment I wondered if I had over-priced it - due in part to the cost of production being higher than other books I have written because it necessarily has to contain colour images. The book is also rather thin - actually being more akin to a booklet. He seemed a little surprised at the price and I apologised with the explanation just given.

"Bought it." He typed.

I thanked him and we ended our conversation. After about 10 minutes of elation, that someone of such standing had bought a book off me, I thought I'd better have a quick read through and see if it stood up to the scrutiny it would no doubt receive... and at that cost!

It may seem odd to some, but I often read through my own books. I actually believe I write well and it is testament to my diligence that I rarely feel anything needs to be changed in hindsight. I write precisely and concisely, with little unnecessary padding. Of course, the downside of this is that I often end up with booklets more often than books! As a writer, I choose my words very carefully. It is very important to convey what I mean to be received. QMS was originally a talk given to scientists and researchers in Barcelona.  It came from inspiration and the words flowed easily through me. For over 30 years, I have explored the more 'hidden' aspects of physical life, and QMS suddenly made a lot of sense.

I realised that the 'Worry Monster' (as my friend puts it) was dancing on my shoulder as I read through my work.  "Is this value for money?" it goaded. "Are you actually saying anything new?"

I woke in the early hours, still thinking about the book and what apology or recompense to offer, should it be rejected on receipt. Perhaps I could offer to return part of the cost, or maybe offer a second complimentary book free. "Stop it!" I thought. "Think of all the things people spend money on. Think of that same amount of money you put into the car as fuel every few days!" The Worry Monster wouldn't let go. "Yes, but look at the thickness of his books - and you can buy them for less than £10." I just hoped that my book was appreciated as substance over quantity.

Check out my books at www.richardgentle.com









Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Stopwatch TV

Until a few months ago, I hadn't realised how invasive TV advertising had become on Freeview channels. On the old terrestrial stations, 3 minutes of advertising during programme breaks was normal and whilst it was still annoying, most of us learnt to live with it. 

However, I now find myself having to endure 4 breaks of between 5 and 6 minutes each in a 1 hour programme! That amounts to some 20 minutes of wasted time.  It means that an hour's programme could actually be shown in less than 40 minutes (I include here the fact that most programmes on advertising channels end a few minutes before the full hour).

These intrusive marketing interruptions are wasting my life! In an attempt to avoid them, one might just say: "Mute the volume." But quite frankly, I would still be sat there, wasting my time. No - that is not an option... and neither is missing my programme by leaving the room and returning too late!

Since I do not want to take the other option of recording the programme and then viewing it at a later date - skipping through the often scare-mongering sales-pitches... You could get Cancer if you don't do... You could lose all your teeth or get horrendous disease if... I choose instead a different tactic of avoidance.

Let me introduce you to my solution: 




I have timed the adverts on some of my favourite programmes and now I can start my stopwatch as soon as the interval begins.  I now mute the TV and leave the room, taking my stopwatch with me.  I can go to the loo; I can make a drink; or more often than not, I can check my emails or social networks... there's certainly plenty of time and I am doing things I would otherwise do if I wasn't watching the TV adverts!  When the clock reaches the 5 minutes or the 5 minutes and 15 seconds, or the 6 minutes - depending on the programme and which advert break we are on: 1, 2, 3 or 4 (for the average hourly episode), I return to the TV just in time to see the start of the next segment.

The bottom line is: The ad breaks are now too long! 

I know that many channels rely on advertising to finance their programmes, but this is an invasion of my time and when we reach a point where we have to sit through almost as much time in adverts as the programme or film we are watching, something is seriously out of order. 

I'm never going to be interested [even subliminally] in any of your stupid mis-information, your high-cost services, or expensive household products - so stop bugging me!  The only people who gain anything from these adverts are the broadcasting channels who charge the advertisers. In fact, the same goes for most advertising. The winners are the people selling the space - not the people selling the products - and certainly not the people having to sit through so much drivel. 

Actually, the same applies to hosting conferences and other public events.  The winners are the owners of the accommodation and those providing catering. We all need somewhere to go and we all need something to eat and drink.  We don't need most of the products alongside these.

I suppose that the ultimate solution is to just stop watching TV altogether. Indeed, I have one or two friends who have taken this path and ditched their TVs forever! It's not that I watch a lot of TV, but when I do watch it, I really don't want to be interrupted every 14 to 17 minutes for a 5 minute... and always increased volume (did I miss mentioning that?) delivery of verbal and visual excrement!

And it's not just adverts that waste my time!

I am sure I hardly need to mention that most hour-long programmes could be condensed into about 20 minutes!  Because after the adverts, many programmes insist on giving a complete synopsis of what has so far happened - just in case we are either switching the TV on part-way through, or in a stupefied state of catatonia have suddenly contracted a pandemic outbreak of TV amnesia!